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Liquified gas electrolytes power new lower-temperature battery

Liquified gas electrolytes power new lower-temperature battery

Science
June 16 (UPI) -- Scientists at the University of California, San Diego have developed new electrolytes capable of powering batteries at temperatures as low as negative 80 degrees Celsius.The technology could help make lithium ion batteries safer and more efficient, as well as boost the range of electric vehicles during cold winter months. The new batteries could also power vehicles and instruments operating in extreme cold, like space rovers, satellites and high-alitiude weather baloons.The electrolytes are composed of liquefied gas solvents. Many gases require extreme pressure to liquify. Gases that liquify at moderate pressures are less apt to freeze.To create their battery's electrolyte, researchers liquified fluoromethane gas. For the capacitor electrolyte, scientists liquified difluor...
Satellite image showcases centuries of desertification in India

Satellite image showcases centuries of desertification in India

Science
June 16 (UPI) -- A new image from the European Space Agency's Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite showcases the extreme aridity of India's Thar Desert.Geologic and archaeological analysis suggests the region, which encompasses more than 123,000 square miles in India and Pakistan, was once green and lush. Centuries of farms have depleted water resources and taxed the soil, slowly drying out the land.Today, the region is dotted by dunes. The false-color image features the city of Bikaner. Sand dunes and irrigation-supported farms surround the city.Life is tough for farmers in the region. Desertification spreads as dry desert sands are blown by winds onto more fertile nearby acreage, degrading the soil.Though irrigation has been used to further develop agricultural lands, India's government has ...
Genome pioneer John Sulston enters elite club

Genome pioneer John Sulston enters elite club

Science
British genome pioneer Sir John Sulston has been elevated to the Companion of Honour in the Queen’s birthday list.Only 65 people, including the sovereign herself, can hold the distinction at any one time.Sir John won a Nobel Prize in 2002 for his breakthrough contribution to the understanding of how genes control cell division and cell death in an organism.One of the researchers with whom he shared that prize, Sydney Brenner, joined the elite group back in 1986.To become a Companion of Honour, an individual has to have made a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government over a long period of time. Existing members include David Hockney and Sir David Attenborough. Those joining with Sir John include JK Rowling and Sir Paul McCartney.Another newcomer is Lord Stern, one of
Salamander found to reproduce using the sperm of at least three males

Salamander found to reproduce using the sperm of at least three males

Science
June 12 (UPI) -- Why pass along the genes of a single mate when you can impart one's offspring with DNA from three fathers? Such is the unique reproductive strategy used by hybrid all-female populations of ambystomatid salamanders.When biologists from the University of Iowa sequenced the genome of all-female, or unisexual, salamanders, they found equal portions of DNA from three different species, Ambystoma laterale, Ambystoma texanum and Ambystoma tigrinum."We're hypothesizing the successful individuals have balanced gene expression," Maurine Neiman, a professor of biology at Iowa, said in a news release. "This balance might have been a prerequisite for the emergence and continued success of this particular hybrid lineage."Researchers believe all-female salamanders employ a reproductive t...
Hand-washing is like hitting a reset button in the brain

Hand-washing is like hitting a reset button in the brain

Science
June 12 (UPI) -- Hand-washing has surprising effects on the human brain. According to a series of experiments conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto, the act of hand-washing leads to more flexible thinking.Researchers found the intellectual priorities of study participants who had disinfected their hands with cleansing wipes were more malleable. In other words, a person's goals were more easily reoriented after hand-washing.To begin the experiment, researchers at Toronto's Rotman School of Management primed participants for a specific goal or behavioral outcome using word games or surveys. Participants were then asked to either evaluate a cleansing hand wipe or use one.Participants who used a hand wipe proved to be less influenced by their priming. They were less likely to a...